No. 22 Wake Forest Puts Away Pitt 3-1
Oct. 24, 2013
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeWSoccer)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Sophomore Taylor Waters had a career night, notching a goal and two assists to lead No. 22 Wake Forest to a 3-1 win over Pitt on Thursday evening at Spry Stadium.
The Demon Deacons (10-4-2, 5-4-2 ACC) won the game with two goals in the last 10 minutes - the game-winner by Ally Berry and an insurance score by Riley Ridgik - with Waters assisting on both of them.
After Waters had opened the scoring in the 59th minute, the Panthers (4-12-1, 0-11-0 ACC) tied the game on a bit of a fluke play 10 minutes later as Alex Charlebois' intended cross drifted on goal and fooled Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, going over her head and into the net. But the two late goals by the Deacs spoiled any thoughts of a Pitt upset.
Waters, a sophomore who had entered Thursday's game with only one goal and one assist in her career, thrived against the Panthers. After missing an opportunity in the first half, her other two shots in the game resulted in goals - the first beating Pitt goalkeeper Taylor Francis and the second providing the rebound that Ridgik scored on.
"With our three injured forwards, we need people to step up and Taylor did that tonight," said da Luz. "She's a good player - she takes players on, she can hit a great shot. I keep giving her opportunities, and I think things kind of clicked for her tonight. We need contributions like that."
The Deacons outshot the Panthers 29-6, but were unable to push a goal across until the 59th minute largely due to a stellar effort by Francis. The Panther goalkeeper made seven saves, several from point-blank range, to keep her team in the game.
"The first half, we were a little bit too passive," said head coach Tony da Luz. "In the second half I thought the kids took a lot more risks and changed the game in the attacking zone. We got a lot of good crosses in and three quality goals, so I'm happy with the turnaround."
With the win, the Deacons took over sole possession of sixth place in the ACC, two points behind Notre Dame for fifth, and can lock up a berth in the 2013 ACC Championship on Sunday with a win against No. 5 North Carolina. The Tar Heels and Demon Deacons will kick off at 1 p.m. at Spry Stadium.
Despite outshooting Pittsburgh 10-3 in the first half, the Deacons were unable to find the back of the net until the 59th minute.
Ridgik took a pass from Jackie McSally and made a marauding run across the penalty box, managing to hold off a defender long enough to touch a pass to Waters on the weak side. Waters, who was unmarked, finished well to give the Deacons a 1-0 lead.
Pitt got what was perhaps an unexpected goal back in the 69th minute. Siobhan McDonough fed Charlebois on the right, and Charlebois lofted a cross that instead headed for goal. Bledsoe had misjudged the ball, and it drifted over her head and into the net.
The Deacons pulled in front again in the 82nd minute. Annick McBryar passed to Taylor Waters who cut in towards the center of the field. Waters played a through ball that Ridgik dummied perfectly, letting it go through her legs to Berry who was making a late run on the far side. Berry collected the ball with only the keeper to beat and slotted a shot home for the eventual game-winner.
Just over two minutes later, Wake Forest struck again. Waters volleyed a cross at the top of the six-yard box. Her shot was blocked but Ridgik was there to slot home the rebound, making the score 3-1 in the Deacons' favor.
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